First celebrated in 2015 at the desire of Pope Francis, it was coordinated by Talitha Kum, part of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) that coordinates the anti-trafficking efforts of Religious Sisters.
This year, the focus was An Economy without Human Trafficking – building an economy that values and cares for the human being and nature, is inclusive and does not exploit the most vulnerable.
There were many aspects that marked the day including a sculpture by Canadian sculptor, Timothy Schmalz, entitled “Let the Oppressed Go Free” https://youtu.be/Yq2wjJVzw_o and a song by Margaret Scharf called "Can you see me?" https://youtu.be/gefn4iEity0?t=24674
Between 10am-4pm, countries from Oceania to America contributed through five languages, to a prayer marathon with a combination of dance, song and prayer with a commitment to action against human trafficking.
My contribution, filmed from Winchester Cathedral, emphasised the Church of England’s commitment to the fight against slavery, emphasising the importance of our 42 Dioceses working through their respective local partnerships and with affiliated agencies. WE SEE YOU, The Clewer strapline, was given further impact through visuals around the Safe Car Wash app, the Farm Work Welfare app and providing a profile of the Women in the Shadows Lent 2021 resource.
Pope Francis sent a video message of support. He explained: An economy without trafficking is "an economy of care” … We need "the courage to combine legitimate profit with the promotion of employment and decent working conditions". We need an "economy of courage", against human trafficking, "the courage of patient construction, of planning that does not always look only at the very short-term gain, but at the medium- and long-term fruits and, above all, at people.”
The Clewer Initiative actively supported the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking on its social media channels and our posts gained much traction.
The Rev’d Edwina Fennemore, Liaison Lead Against Modern Slavery, Diocese of Portsmouth & Winchester